Politifact Baselessly Accuses Harry Reid of Lying

A blog about business and economics.
Aug. 6 2012 8:43 PM

Politifact Baselessly Accuses Harry Reid of Lying

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid speaks on Capitol Hill in July

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

It's become normal for presidential candidates to release their tax returns. So normal, in fact, that when John McCain was considering putting Mitt Romney on the ticket as his vice presidential candidate in 2008, McCain's team asked to see Romney's tax returns and Romney agreed. But running for office in 2012, Romney has declined to make more than a year or two of information available. That, naturally, has led to a lot of speculation as to what those returns would show. My view is that the most tantalizing possibility is that he took an IRS amnesty relating to non-disclosed offshore bank accounts.

But obviously I don't really know what the deal is. Harry Reid, however, says that he does know and that a former Bain investor has told him Romney managed to avoid paying income taxes for ten years.


Now is that true? I don't know. But I also think it's mighty forward of Politifact to come out and say that Reid's a liar worthy of a firm "pants on fire" ruling. Politifact hasn't seen Romney's returns. Politifact doesn't say they have a source who's seen Romney's returns. Maybe Reid or his source is lying, but maybe they're not. If that kind of allegation was made just out of the blue about a random person, you'd have to assess the odds of its veracity as being pretty low. But we do know that Romney has been willing to bear a substantial political price for the sake of keeping his tax records out of the public eye. Since it's overwhelmingly likely that there's something embarassing in there. Reid thinks his source knows what it is. If Reid or Reid's source is lying, it would be easy enough to prove. But absent additional information, there's no basis for the idea that Reid's pants are on fire.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.



Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Altered State

The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender

What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?

Surprise! The Women Hired to Fix the NFL Think the NFL Is Just Great.

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Altered State
Sept. 17 2014 11:51 PM The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
Sept. 17 2014 6:53 PM LGBTQ Luminaries Honored With MacArthur “Genius” Fellowships
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 8:25 PM A New Song and Music Video From Angel Olsen, Indie’s Next Big Thing
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 9:00 PM Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 17 2014 11:48 PM Spanking Is Great for Sex Which is why it’s grotesque for parenting.
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?